Author: tenderfootlearninglab

  • We Don’t Talk About Doom, No No No No

    We Don’t Talk About Doom, No No No No

    Lately, my social media algorithms are showing me a new theme: college students talking about teachers and classes that transformed their passion for environmental activism into anxiety, fear, and apathy. Many said the same thing: “For the sake of my mental health, I changed my major.” For easily the first 25 years of my life,…

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  • Re-Entry Pains

    Re-Entry Pains

    by Lindsey Rudibaugh.  This is a post I wrote after completing the Appalachian Trail but never published.  News of aspiring thru-hikers hitting the trail this month has me feeling an aching nostalgia, so I brushed this off to finally share.   Lights.  Everywhere, lights. Noise. Everywhere, noise…but a dead-sounding silence in the house.  No birds.  No…

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  • Harvesting What We Sow

    Harvesting What We Sow

    by Travis Harding, first published as a guest article in the Athens Messenger’s Our Home column “The natural world does not ask us to be experts or to be enlightened before it’s willing to care for us.  It cares for us because we are part of it.  It is up to us to ensure that…

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  • No Justice, No Sustainability

    No Justice, No Sustainability

    A local organic farmer, Ed Perkins of Sassafras Farm, invited us to write a guest article for his sustainability column in the Athens Messenger. The following is an adaptation of the piece that ran in the newspaper on July 30, 2022. Nonprofits can’t back political candidates, but we can champion causes.  Arguably, that’s the very…

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  • Purple for the People!

    Purple for the People!

    My high school commencement speaker told my graduating class that high school was the last time in our lives when we’d spend so much time co-mingling with people from every social status and sector of society. Look to your left, look to your right. Here sit the grocery store workers and the attorneys, the teachers…

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  • Falling Down Is For Everyone

    Falling Down Is For Everyone

    by Lindsey Rudibaugh When you fall down in the woods, you get dirt and twigs in unfortunate places. It makes you angry. It leaves you bruised, scraped up, embarrassed. Feeling defeated. Feeling triumphant. The ‘ol fall-down-and-get-back-up adage is perhaps a little tired, but lately I’ve lived it so literally that it feels like fresh, deep…

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  • Excuse me, where’s your kitchen?

    Excuse me, where’s your kitchen?

    by Lindsey Rudibaugh It’s 4 am. I awoke at 3:00, painfully aware of some pressing biological needs. I tried ignoring all of them in favor of sleep, but after a short 5 minutes I (very) begrudgingly found my headlamp and TP in the dark, unzipped the hammock, found my shoes, and hobbled into the trees.…

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  • The First Third

    The First Third

    We’ve hiked 870 miles of the Appalachian Trail. That’s more than one third! (By 140 miles if you’re looking for specifics.) Bill Bryson, considered an authority on the AT based on his wildly popular book A Walk in the Woods, only hiked a third of it. The Proclaimers won millions of hearts with their grand…

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  • High Alert & High Adventure

    High Alert & High Adventure

    Realistic expectations are a good defense against disappointment, so when planning our thru-hike, we read as much as we could about what we should expect. Several previous hikers said that life on the Trail is constant misery, or at the very least mild discomfort, occasionally interrupted by moments of awe, elation, and satisfaction that make…

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  • New Realities: The First Two Trail Weeks

    New Realities: The First Two Trail Weeks

    We’ve been nomadic forest-dwellers for more than two full weeks now, the longest either of us has ever spent camping or backpacking. Two weeks isn’t much out of a 6-month stint, but it’s been enough time to notice our brains wrapping around our new lifestyle. A few examples of our shifting realities, (and our apologies…

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